There are differences between an artist’s biography and an artist’s statement. An artist’s statement is the written illustration that goes with your wonderful artwork be it photographed, drawn, painted, and crafted.
- The purpose of the artist statement is to describe your work from your point of view which then guides the viewer in interpreting and comprehending your art.
So, your choice of words should be consciously chosen so you don’t confuse your viewer or be misunderstood as hyping your artwork. Avoid too many art registers or difficult words. Go straight to describing what you have done: eg: I used this because it helps me do that. Avoid “… trying to”, “… hoping to”, or “… would like to”
The length of your artist statements depends on the type you are writing. Artist statement giving an account of your overall image as an artist or for exhibitions should not be more than a page. Although, when introducing and describing a specific artwork, one or two paragraphs at most should be considered.
However, either for describing a specific project or artwork or your entire personality and process as an artist, you could try working around 50 words which limits you to only adding relevant information. The 50 words are then committed to memory and given as feedback to people at galleries or fresh contacts who ask about what you do.
An artist statement is not meant to promote your art to the reader- it is meant to guide them in understanding it and adequately appreciating it.
Your artist statement should not describe what the viewer can see on their own while looking at your artwork.
Your Artist statement should contain information viewers can (hardly) not decipher from looking at your artwork.
Reading the artist statements of artists whose work is similar to yours can help you greatly.
Also, you could check out the artist’s statement of an artist you idolize or regard with respect.
The aim is not to copy, paste, or edit what they have but be guided by that which they have written to produce something unrivaled after initially pondering on the statements and questions below :
- What methods do you use?
If you used any unorthodox steps, it should be added to your Artist statement. You don’t have to include all the processes used in making your art. But be sure to include the basic things.
- What kind of art did or do make?
Art statements provide the viewer with information on what kind of art you make. It recounts details of that particular project or drawing, why that form of painting or project intrigues you.
- How do you do it? and Why do you do it?
After discussing the kind of art you make, it is important to explain the basic process and the unorthodox steps used in creating your art. Also, mention the motivation and reason for making that kind of art. It helps viewers discover your context and understand your point of view.
- Is your art expressing your opinion about present events or societal situations?
Clearly state this and more in your artist statement. Ensure you add the how’s and why’s that make the viewer comprehend your work fully.
- What effects[personal, historical, cultural, etc.] imparts your work?
What themes and ideas do you favor in your work? The themes art lovers can find in your work generally or the specific one you have written in your artist statement should be described.
- What do you want other people to understand your art?
As you deliberate on answering these questions, other questions may arise in your mind; answer those ones too if you could and as best as you can!
Writing an art statement might require seeking other people’s outlook of your art. Non-artists: family, friends, and artists can be approached and asked for their views.
However, note the questions and critiques these people have about your work. It is most likely that outsiders or viewers would ask the same questions.
So, the answers and clarifications provided to critiques could be added as well. Make sure to note the kind of words they use to qualify or modify you/your art piece because it might be helpful and used as part of your choice of words to be used in your artist statement.
The artist statement stands as an introduction and should give a detailed account of your art. It should justify your reasons for making the kind of art you make. Overall, the artist statement is meant to explain the meaning of your art and as an artist-entrepreneur, it is a must-have.